20 Reasons To Love Americana, Part #2

Our series spotlighting 20 fine examples of Americana that will be offered at the Winter Antiques Show January 19–29 at the Park Avenue Armory continues today with this look at a fine example of American craftsmanship..

Frank and Barbara Pollack American Antiques & Art, Highland Park, Ill., specialize in American decorative arts; naive folk paintings, painted furniture, textiles, pottery, folk art and accessories of the Eighteenth—Twentieth Centuries. Among the fine items on hand Barbara Pollack will bring to the Winter Antiques Show will be a wonderful painted and decorated Maine box.

Attributed to Salmon Brewster (1802–1887), a lifelong resident of Leeds, Maine, the box was made circa 1830 of white pine and basswood with square nail construction. The striking box measures 9¼ by 24 inches and is 11½ inches deep. In untouched original condition, the box recreates the feel of larger trunks with a pattern of nine panels on each of its faces, outlined in black and red on a yellow ground. It even has a faux handle painted on the lid!

The box has a solid provenance to David Hodson of Monmouth, Mass., a descendant of the Brewster family. According to Bates College, the Brewster family of Leeds, Maine, traces its roots to the Mayflower and first settled in America in Lebanon, Conn. in the Eighteenth Century.

Salmon Brewster ran a general store at Quaker Ridge and then Curtis Corner in Leeds as well as being prominent in civic affairs in the town. In a history of Leeds, Maine, he is also described as having worked as a farmer, carpenter, painter and sleigh manufacturer.

Early New England painted boxes, usually exuberantly decorated as this one is, are always a great find, and fresh examples are becoming harder to find these days. As you get ready for Americana Week, happy hunting!

For more information, contact Barbara Pollack at 847-433-2213 or barbarapollack@comcast.net. Make sure to visit the dealers’ booth at the Winter Antiques Show to see this and other fine primitives. For show information, www.winterantiquesshow.com or 212-987-0446.

–Andrea Valluzzo


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